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Baltimore Ravens will open 2013 season on road

A league source told the Baltimore Ravens official website early in the week that opening the 2013 NFL season on the road is the "least desirable" option in the team's Sept. 5 scheduling conflict with the Baltimore Orioles.

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That undesirable option is now reality.

The Ravens announced Friday that they will open the 2013 season on the road in a Thursday night game.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had raised the possibility of a Baltimore double-header for that day. While the Orioles were willing to compromise on their game time, the NFL and the Ravens ultimately decided that logistical issues would be a nightmare under the double-header scenario.

"After thorough discussions among the Orioles, the NFL and the Ravens," Ravens president Dick Cass explained in a statement, "it became clear that holding both an Orioles' game and the Ravens' regular-season opener on the same day would create logistical situations (that) would cause serious issues for the city of Baltimore, and fans for both teams."

Cass went on to cite anticipated problems with parking, rush-hour traffic, plus crowd and car congestion around Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium.

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NFL senior vice president of communications Greg Aiello released a statement expressing his disappointment for the fans in Baltimore. The NFL still is exploring other avenues for Baltimore fans to celebrate the 2013 NFL Kickoff Game, including a pre-game concert.

The Ravens are the first Super Bowl champion to open the season on the road since 2003 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visited Lincoln Financial Field to play the Philadelphia Eagles

The opponent for the Ravens' Week 1 game has yet to be determined. The NFL already has announced home and road opponents for this season, meaning the Ravens could open the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions or the Denver Broncos.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling

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